In May 2008, the California Supreme Court held that the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution required same-sex marriages be recognized. However, the voters passed Proposition 8 just a few months later, redefining marriage as only between a man and woman. Last May, after a second round in the state courts, the California Supreme Court upheld the state constitutionality of Proposition 8. The court’s ruling eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry, but the court rejected the nullification of the marriages of couples that had already received marriage licenses.
Today marked the next phase of the battle, a challenge to Proposition 8 under the United States Constitution. The plaintiffs are attempting to show that the sponsors of Proposition 8 unconstitutionally proposed the amendment with discriminatory intent. The plaintiffs hope to make such a showing by placing the sponsors on the witness stand.
Last Wednesday, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco ordered a delayed YouTube stream of the trial. However, the Supreme Court has issued a stay for the YouTube streaming (streaming to other rooms within the courthouse will continue). According to the stay, it will expire on Wednesday at 4PM unless extended. The stay contained no reasoning as to why it was ordered, however, one would think that the court worried about witness harassment. Justice Breyer, while pleased at the limited duration of the stay, dissented by cursorily arguing that delayed video streaming would not cause irreparable harm.